Four recent studies from the climate research center at the University of Arizona have detailed a variety of impacts on the environment in Arizona:
A steady rise in global temperatures since the 1970s has already shifted the high-altitude jet stream to the north by more than 1,000 miles. That shift has dragged the winter and spring storm track with it. The change will result in fewer big winter storms in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Southern California, Western Colorado and Western New Mexico, concluded McAfee.
Studies by the UA’s Tree Ring Research Laboratory headed by Tom Swetnam have also found that warm, dry springs lead to a big increase in wildfires.
Another study by UA researchers Sarah Kimball, D. Lawrence Venable and others published in Global Change Biology produced a seemingly contradictory result: cold-tolerating Sonoran Desert plants have actually received a boost from the warming trend.
The most cold-tolerant wildflowers increased their germination rates, at the expense of the rest. Earlier work had shown that cold-tolerant annuals also do better on less water, which could account for the shift the researchers recorded.
widespread decline in the number of pinyon pine — the scrubby, drought-tolerant pine tree that often grows at Payson’s elevation.
Pinyon pines have died off on some 2.5 million acres in the past few decades. The researchers blamed a decade of drought, record-high temperatures, a dwindling snowpack and other changes.
There's a wonderfully idiosyncratic take on Arizona's future here. Which also qualifies as the longest url I've ever seen :) nice work Emil Pulsifer.
1) Stop all extra-urban development;
2) Stop all development outside the real urban footprints of cities and towns — that means no more Pinal or Buckeye sprawl;
3) Shrink the state's population through taxes, "anti-business" regulations and whatever other creative solution someone can reach (the heat may do this anyway);
4) Price water extremely high outside the SRP footprint and a few other quasi-sustainable areas;
5) Start to return much of metro Phoenix's fringes to natural desert — yes, tear down the crap;
7) Fill in the old SRP footprint with high-quality dense development that includes plenty of shade tree and grass oases but also building based on Spanish and Moorish models rather than American tract houses with large expanses out front; also, with much less pavement;
8) Tax the fringe areas to encourage migration either out of state or into the dense SRP footprint or other such areas.
9) Shut down any golf course built after 1970;
10) Have statewide, airtight water regulations. Not the least impediment to realizing these solutions would be building an economy based on more than sprawl. So...no chance.